It's Rail Safety Week now through Saturday, September 29 in Minnesota and Operation Lifesaver, along with MNDOT have crucial life-saving tips when crossing railroad tracks.

Keep these things in mind to stay safe:

  • Expect a train at any time. You can't be sure when a train may appear at a crossing, even if it's one you drive or walk across every day. Freight trains don't travel on a regular schedule and the schedules for passenger trains can change. Always be alert, because trains can run any time of day or night, on any track, in any direction.
  • Don't be fooled.  The train is closer and faster than you think. In the same way that airplanes can seem to move slowly, a train may seem farther away than it really is. It's easy to misjudge a train's speed and its distance, especially at night. Don’t take chances. If you see a train, just wait.
  • Trains can't stop quickly or swerve—be prepared to yield. After fully applying the brakes, a loaded freight train traveling 55 miles an hour takes a mile or more to stop. A light rail train takes 600 feet to stop, and an eight-car passenger train traveling 80 miles an hour needs about a mile to stop. Even if the engineer can see you, it's too late to stop the train in time to prevent a collision.
  • Stop and wait when gates are down or lights are flashing. If the gates are down, the road is closed and you must stop and wait. That's the law. Continue across after the gates go up and the red lights stop flashing,
  • Don't trespass on foot. Tracks and the property alongside them are private property. Stay off railroad cars and tracks. It's illegal and, too often, it's deadly.
  • Don't get trapped on the tracks. Never drive onto a railroad crossing until you're sure you can clear the tracks on the other side without stopping. If your car stalls or is trapped on the tracks, get everyone out right away, even if you don't see a train coming. Move quickly away from the tracks. If a train is coming, move in its direction as you move away from the tracks. If you run the same direction the train is going, you could be injured by flying debris when the train hits your car.

Throughout Railway Safety Week, Operation Lifesaver will host several public activities across Minnesota, which you can see though the link below.